By Chere Di Boscio
Bonana Van Mil is an interesting woman.
A native of Botswana, she’s travelled, studied and worked around the world. She studied Fashion and Arts in the Netherlands before spending some time working for Ann Demeulemeester in Belgium and then moved half way around the world to work with Akira Isogawa in Sydney, before settling (for the moment!) in the world’s fashion capital, Paris, to work on her ethical accessories collection.
Smoky scarves and thick, tribal bracelets define her range, which is inspired by her many travels and the converging of cultures.
Of her current collection, pictured here, she says: “I very much inspired by little souvenirs I kept in my mind during my travels back and forth to Africa. Driving in the Kalahari dessert in Botswana, I once came across a group of Herero women, dressed in Victorian style dress adapted from that favoured by the wives of early European missionaries. They were sitting there, laughing and chatting with each other in the blazing hot dessert sun. It looked so surreal, The long, bright, coloured dresses with hooped petticoats against the dessert sand and its dry thorn bushes stayed forever in my mind.”
Sweet and soft spoken, Van Mil is adamant about being ethical in her work, and says there while she is pleased to see that ethical fashion is a growing trend, especially in Paris, she insists there is really ‘no reason’ why all designers cannot be more eco-friendly. Her scarves are painted in non-toxic colour on 100% silk, making each one as unique as its wearer.
She’s already worked for some of the biggest design houses in fashion, and started her own line, which has been featured in some of the biggest publications in the world, including Elle and Grazia. So what will Bonana Van Mil do next?
Watch this space!
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